University of Iowa Alumni Association “Lifelong Learning” event

The University of Iowa Libraries is proud to present an exhibition of materials and experiences related to the work of UI alumnus and faculty astrophysicist James Van Allen, 36MS, 39PhD. The UIAA invites you to join Greg Prickman, head of UI Libraries Special Collections, as he guides you on a tour of the Main Library’s new gallery space, featuring an exhibition of Van Allen’s stellar career. Artifacts, writings, photos, and recordings launch visitors into the heart of the Space Age to tell the compelling story of the Iowan’s groundbreaking discovery of the Van Allen Radiation Belts.

WHEN: Wednesday, April 6, 2016, 6 p.m.
WHERE: The University of Iowa Main Library, 125 W. Washington St., Iowa City
COST: This lecture is FREE and open to the public; however, RSVPs are encouraged.

Pre-registration for this event has ended, however, walk-ups are welcome and may register at the event.

See more at:

Details found here:

4/4/16 = Square Root Day!!



April 4, 2016 is Square Root Day – so let’s get to the root of it!!

The next square root day won’t be until May 5, 2025, so let’s celebrate! There are only nine square root days in a century – so don’t miss this one!

The square root is an important mathematical concept used in many different occupations – including carpentry, engineering, architects, landscapers, and artists and designers. So, what is a square root? The square root of any number (x) is equal to the number (y) that when multiplied by itself or squared returns the first number (x). In other words, the square root of x is y, because x X x or x²2 is y.

Did you know that the symbol for square root (√) is called the radix or the radical sign? And Christoff Rudolff first used it in 1525?

Maurice Machover wrote a proof poem of the irrationality of √2:

Double a square is never a square, and here is the reason why:
If m-squared were equal to two n-squared, then to their prime factors we’d fly.
But the decomposition that lies on the left has all its exponents even.
But the power of two on the right must be odd: so one of the twos is bereaven.*


What fun ways can you find to celebrate this auspicious day? 

How about:
  • Square Dancing
  • Learn to tie a square knot
  • Eat square shaped food – made from root vegetables (what else!?). How about square sweet potato fries, make a square carrot cake!
  • Try root vegetables you might not have eaten before: rutabagas, parsnips, yucca roots, and kohlrabi.
  • Onions, garlic and ginger are also root veggies – find new recipes

Be SURE to come into the library and work on our Color by Numbers (Engineering Style!)



*breaven is a derivation of the word “bereave.”


Fun Holiday – Square Root Day. 2016.

Flannery, David. The square root of 2: a dialogue concerning a number and a sequence. 2006. New York : Copernicus : [Chichester, England] : Praxis. Engineering Library QA247.5 .F53 2006

Other Resources:

Square Root Day. 4/4/16 Opening Day and Square Root Day!! Square Root Day. Date accessed March 25, 2016




Disover U.S. Patents, Trademarks, and Patent Applications |Workshop Tuesday, April 5, 1pm @Hardin Library


The purpose of this hands-on class is to introduce several resources found on the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office website that may be used to locate information on patents, trademarks and patent applications. Google’s patent searching feature will be also be highlighted as a source for finding information on patents. Taught by Kari Kozak (Head, Lichtenberger Engineering Library).


Tuesday, April 5th, 1-2p – East Commons, 2nd Floor, Hardin Library for the Health Sciences

Find nutrition information in PubMed & Embase faster with our workshop | Tuesday, April 5, 10am@Hardin Library


Literature searching for nutrition-related subjects in PubMed and Embase can be challenging.

This hands-on session will:

  • examine those challenges and
  • suggest techniques for doing better searches on topics related to nutrition, and
  • improve your search results by using subject headings (MeSH) and advanced keyword searching techniques.

Our next session:
Tuesday, April 5th, 10-11a – East Commons, 2nd Floor, Hardin Library for the Health Sciences

Hardin Library will be Regional Medical Library for Greater Midwest Region

Linda Walton picture
Linda Walton picture

Linda Walton
Associate University Librarian Director, Hardin Library for the Health Sciences & Principal Investigator

Hardin Library for the Health Sciences is thrilled to be the Regional Medical Library for the Greater Midwest Region. We look forward to working with our colleagues over the next five years as we work together to continuously enhance easy access to quality health information for all.

Midwest Region serves Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.  For more information, see U.S. National Library of Medicine news.

This award is for $6.5 million dollars over 5 years.  Six new people will be hired to staff the office located at the Hardin Library.

Database of the Week: Business Expert Press

Each week we will highlight one of the many databases we have here at the Pomerantz Business Library.

The database: Business Expert PressBusiness Expert Press Main Screen

“Business Expert Press’s Digital Libraries are filled with practical, concise books covering specific areas of business, including supply and operations management, international business, social media, finance, accounting, public relations, and marketing strategy. They’re written by international authorities, specifically for students seeking bachelors or masters degrees.”

Where to find it: You can find it here, under B on our Databases A to Z page, or under B on our “E-Book Collections” page.

 Use it to find: Business Expert Press offers more than 300 E-Books that can be read online or downloaded in PDF or EPUB formats.  Topics include: accounting, supply chain management, leadership, finance, corporate social responsibility, and business writing.

Tips for searching: Business Expert Press Related Topics

  • Use the search box to search using keywords.
  • Advanced search is available via the gear icon to the right of the search box.
  • Users can browse titles from the main page (see top image).
  • For more focused browsing:
    • Select from the “Filters” on the left, or
    • Click on “Related Topics” and select from options presented (see image at right).


Business Expert Press Item Level




Want help using Business Expert Press eBook collection? Contact Jim or Kim to set up an appointment.


Let’s Go Fly A Kite! A New Exhibit!


Box_kiteLet’s go fly a kitediamond
Up to the highest height!
Let’s go fly a kite and send it soaring
Up through the atmosphere
Up where the air is clear
Oh, let’s go fly a kite!

(from Disney’s Mary Poppins, composed by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman)

April is National Kite Month!!

Our new exhibit, Kites! Engineering and Design from Around the World! celebrates kites and all they have contributed to engineering and aeronautics.

The history of kite-flying goes way back – there are differing accounts of when the first written record appeared – varying from about 200 B.C.  to 1000 B.C.  Kites were not toys, but used for delivering messages, carrying lights, noise makers and pyrotechnics to frighten enemy troops. In the 200 B.C. account, Chinese General Han Hsin flew a kite over the walls of a city to determine how far his army would have to tunnel to reach beyond the city’s defenses. Kites were also used for various religious and ceremonial rites. The first known illustration of of the familiar diamond-shaped kite dates from 1618.

Pioneers of aviation used kites to research and test aircraft structures, aerodynamics, and wing designs.  Wilbur and Orville Wright used a specially designed kite to test their control systems. The company Syndicate d’Aviation was founded in 1905. It was first company founded specifically to manufacture airplanes. Their initial product was a two-bay biplane which was inspired by Lawrence Hargrave’s box kite. It is also believed that Leonardo da Vinci’s familiarity with kites led to his invention of the parachute.

kite graph

Graph taken from “:Why Kites Fly,”

So, why are kites, which are heavier than air, able to fly? They rely on lift, drag, thrust, and gravity. Lift results when wind moves across the sail of a kite – the wind pushes up on the kite. At the same time, the wind passing over the top of the kite creates an area of low pressure, which creates pull from behind. Drag is created by wind resistance on the kite’s surface and tail. Gravity and the weight of the kite pull it downwards and the thrust is the power of the wind which creates the lift. A kite needs enough lift to overcome the gravity and drag.

The dihedral angle of a kite is also important. A dihedral angle is the angle formed when two wings come together. If the wings of a kite lean back at the same angle, the wind will push evenly on both wings and it will be perfectly balanced in the sky.

Alexander Graham Bell's Frost King.

Alexander Graham Bell’s Frost King.

There are many possible kite shapes and how each of them use their aerodynamic features determine if, or how, that kite will fly. In 1905 Alexander Graham Bell developed tetrahedral kites. The giant Frost King had 1,300 individual pyramid-shaped cells arranged in 12 layers and could lift a man 30 feet in the air. We have a smaller (much smaller!!) model of a tetrahedral kite in our exhibit.


Remember spending spring and summer afternoons trying to get those kites off the ground or out of ‘kite-eating-trees?’ What is more fun than a wide-open space, a light breeze and a colorful kite? Stop in and see our Kite Flying exhibit, let it get you into the mood and then head out for some spring kite-flying!

Kites! Engineering and Design from Around the World!

Kites! Engineering and Design from Around the World!

Fun Facts!

*The largest number of kites flown on a single line is 11,284.
*The smallest kite in the world is .19685 inches and the largest is 6781.26 square feet
*Some Japanese kites weigh over 2 tons
*More than 50 million kites are sold in North America each year
*Bird kites from Indonesia are made from hand-painted silk
*Traditional kites of Thailand represent male and female characters. Kites are flown in “battles” designed to capture a mate
*A young boy, Homan J. Walsh, flew his kite over Niagara Falls helping to build the suspension bridge.
*Kite names from around the world:
  • Japan: Tako, which means ‘octopus’. These have long bridles and tails
  • France: Ceerf volant, which means ‘antlers on a deer.’ Their kites are made with spars and sticks
  • Mexico: Papalote, which means ‘butterfly”
  • China: Fen Zheng, which means ‘wind harp’


Crouch, Tom D. 2003. Wings: a history of aviation from kites to the space age. Washington, D.C. : Smithsonian national Air and Space Museum : New York : W.W. Norton. Engineering Library TL515 .C76 2003.

Gray, Charlotte. 2006. Reluctant genius : Alexander Graham Bell and the passion for invention. New York : Arcade Pub. Engineering Library TK6143.B4 G73 2006

Anderson, John David. 1997. A history of aerodynamics and its impact on flying machines. Cambridge : New York : Cambridge University Press. Engineering Library TL570 .A679 1997

National Kite Month: April 1st – 30th, 2016. 2016.

How to Fly a Kite.  Gomberg Kite Productions, International. Date accessed March 7, 2016.

Kite Geography: Kites from Around the World.  Gomberg Kite Productions, International. Date accessed March 24, 2016

Other Resources:

Wildwood Kite Festival 2014. May 26, 2014. youtube.

For the calculation of the lift and drag on a glider being flown as a kite:
Anderson, John David. 1997. A history of aerodynamics and its impact on flying machines. Cambridge : New York : Cambridge University Press. Engineering Library TL570 .A679 1997  Appendix F, page 458.

7 Wind Swept Projects to Celebrate National Kite Flying Day. Feb.8, 2016. Make: We are all Makers

Chicago Kite Festival:

Death from Kite Battles

Alexander Graham Bell: 1891-1909, His years for kites. Carnet de vol. Date accessed 3/2/16.